Reconsidering —again — 72 Poplar

>> 72 Poplar Street, as of last week

>> 72 Poplar Street, as of last week

Owners behind the 72 Poplar Street conversion project have been sent back to the drawing board once again.

Last week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission “strongly recommended” that the owners behind a plan to convert the former precinct house into a rental building rethink their designs.

“The commissioners felt that the addition was too big and asked them to seriously restudy the proposal for the project,” explained Landmarks spokeswoman Lisi DeBourbon. “The application wasn’t expressly denied, and there was no vote, but they did strongly urge the applicant to go back to the drawing board.”

The owner, Regal Investments, had envisioned including a two-story addition to the building’s garage and main building, which would be comprised of a precast concrete hanging wall, according to a presentation before Community Board 2 in April. The garage will be converted into a four-story, 35’ one- or two-family home, explained architect Andrew Fredman, and the addition to the original building will not be visible from the street because of its sight lines. Ground floor space will be for medical offices, and the developer is completely restoring the original iron window gates, brickwork, and framing along the building’s façade. Renderings are here.

An owner of the building, Bill Punch, told BHB on Monday that he is still sorting out the project’s next steps.

“We don’t have any plans yet,” he said.

Fredman told BHB today that he and his client are discussing how to respond to Landmarks’ comments.

Once the owners present Landmarks with a new plan, the Board will hold another public hearing on the proposal and vote, DeBourbon said.

Read the Eagle’s account here.

(Photo credit BHB/Sarah Portlock)

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  • nabeguy

    While I was never crazy about the last proposal, especially the lego-like blocks on the garage, I find this further delay somewhat frustrating. With the halt of so many projects in the Heights (20 Henry, 1 Monroe, 73 Pineapple), it would be nice to see something actually go forward instead of reverse.

  • WilliamSpier

    I am not a detached observer of the long drawn out wait for a 72 rehab. I live at 75 Poplar. As much as I want the developer to get this rehab going and make it a success, the roof mock-up of a two story addition brought visions of a really compromised Georgian style building. It’s too bad. The developer bought the building several years ago and goofed around with use during the intervening years. There was a vaiance issue with the rear that ( I believe) could have been worked out and supported by the neighbors a long time ago. There was some interference from others professing this use or that. In my opinion, the developer has turned a good thing into a headache for himself and the neighborhood. My advice for him is to make it right and stop screwing around.

  • nabeguy

    And therein lies the rub…who’s right is right? What amazes me is the developer’s financial capacity to let a property sit fallow for so long, with seemingly no real effort at making any progress. No one wins.

  • AEB

    Second–and third and forth–those sentiments, nabe.

    Given the economy, one would think that developers and landlords would do their best to make the shekels come their way.

    I’m wondering, for example, how long the store formerly occupied by Rowf will remain fallow. Absolutely no sign of the spot being available for rent. No info posted, no one’s visiting it, etc.

    Shall we take bets on how long the property remains unrented? I’m thinking a year-plus.

  • nabeguy

    AEB, don’t get me started on commercial landlords in the nabe. Chances are better that the God particle will be discovered at the Hadron collider before someone can figure out what compels these morons to keep their spaces empty for eternity.

  • AEB

    Combi-platter, nabe:

    penuriousness (one must after spend some money to get money)
    inertia (see “sloth,” above)…

    Perhaps you can come up with the Seventh Deadly Sin of Rental seppuku….